Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yom HaShoah - Remembering the Holocaust

Today is Yom HaShoah - Israel's official (and world Jewry's unofficial) day to remember the victims of the Holocaust and those who resisted the genocide of the Jews.
When this day comes around every year, I have a custom. I watch a certain fragment of the film "Ordinary Fascism" (обыкновенный фашизм) - a Soviet film made in 1965 by Mikhail Romm - People's Artist of the USSR and one of the greatest Soviet (and frankly international) directors who ever lived. Although the film itself is about the nature of "fascism," the Nazi Holocaust is only sporadically mentioned - Soviet authorities did not allow Romm to make it a centerpiece of his film or emphasize the destruction of the Jews. But in four short minutes, Romm, in my opinion, does more to hammer the raw horror and unvarnished reality of the Holocaust home than Spielberg, Polanski et al. could do with no political censorship or time constraints.
I have linked the fragment from Romm's film below (some viewer caution is advised) because it is so powerful and blunt. I have provided English subtitles to the Russian narration - they do not do it justice.
I watch this every year because we have to keep watching, keep remembering and never forget the past lest we allow it to be repeated. Most important, we have to put our problems in perspective and expect more maturity from those who aspire to lead what is left of the free world.

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